Love and hospitality will always find a way, even in a pandemic

The couple waltzed up to the propped open front door as if they owned the place. Have you ever noticed that when someone walks with obvious purpose, that purpose usually isn’t very good?

“Do you have reservations?” asked the masked and gloved hostess.

“I didn’t think we’d need any,” said purposeful walker #1.

“Look at all the empty tables,” replied purposeful walker #2, pointing at the empty dining room.

“We’re not seating inside,” replied the hostess.

“Why not?”

Some people are just clueless, and some people are deliberately clueless. The first are relatively easy to deal with, the latter, not so much.

Several minutes later those two were heading out the door less purposefully while another couple was heading in.

“We have reservations for two,” replied the man, muffled by a scarf wrapped around his face like Lawrence of Arabia.

One potential idea floated for restaraunt dining reopening was that restaurants only seat people that already live together. Can you imagine trying to do that? If you think service dog verification is tricky just try asking people where they live.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but it becomes very clear very quickly that if all you see are the eyes it becomes easy to misconstrue communications. Two eyes staring at you without the benefit of a nose, mouth, and chin, and all of a sudden, a Degree in Communications and a long career in customer service means very, very little.  Face coverings also don’t bode well for fake tinder profile photos, but I digress.

It wasn’t the eyes that revealed that this couple didn’t live in the same house, it was their behavior, their lack of familiarity. If one were a guessing person, one might have guessed that they had never even been in the same house. At least not yet. And if one were a betting person, one might put money on that soon changing.

The gallant certainly would have held the door open for the lady, if the door weren’t already held open (new rules), but the intention was certainly there. 

It is a whole different experience watching someone through a window rather than observing that same someone sitting directly in front of you. But with the absence of direct stimuli, you make do with what you got. 

And so it was with them. They ordered a bottle of wine and when the server left, they scooted their chairs a little closer together. Six feet apart can feel like six feet under if intimacy is on the table. So often restaurants and bars are the warmup rooms for romance, the on deck circle as it were. If everything goes right, more comfortable accommodations are sought. And after three months of isolation I’m guessing that third date behavior might be now getting moved up a date or two.

I stirred the drink I was working on and stared out the window, just like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, except that my art was hobbled by circumstance and not by a broken leg.

The server presented the wine, and the man brushed a long leafy fern away from his head with an annoyed gesture. There might be a back patio, but in this climate, it is probably rarely used. And it has never been used with this particular table configuration. But you know, hospitality always finds a way. If we can have swim up pool bars, we can certainly figure this out too.

The server stood back and let him taste the wine. He pulled his scarf to the side, tasted, and then signaled to pour. The romantic sophistication of this simple interaction certainly gets lost when the server is dressed like an Emergency Room nurse and you have to pull a face covering to the side in order to accomplish it.

Somehow, I got the impression that this part of the dining experience hadn’t been figured into the new guidelines, but so much is up in the air right now.

Eventually a first kiss was attempted but being five-ish feet apart and wearing face coverings dampened most of its ardor. A check was requested, and the two made for a less restrained environment.

Leaving me with these thoughts.

-Love, or lust, will always find away. That is the miracle of human survival.

-The new normal? Maybe, but some parts of the old normal are certainly missed.

-Norman Bates also watched through his rear window in another Hitchcock film. Just a thought.

-I can almost hear the joke now: Do you two live together? No but we sleep together. Does that count?

-Prophylactics only work properly if you wear them properly, just saying.

-I now bag my own groceries at the car: old dog meet new tricks. Thanks for all the letters.